Bless our God, O peoples! Give him a thunderous welcome! Didn’t he set us on the road to life? Didn’t he keep us out of the ditch? He trained us first, passed us like silver through refining fires, Brought us into hardscrabble country, pushed us to our very limit, Road-tested us inside and out, took us to hell and back; Finally he brought us to this well-watered place. ~ Psalm 66:8
When you read the verse above it doesn’t necessarily invite the warm and fuzzy emotions to overwhelm you, does it? As a matter of fact, it probably does the complete opposite where you think, nope, I don’t need to read this today, but I would like to take a minute to ask you, no, scratch that, beg you to sit me for a little bit on this one. Come on now, grab your Bible, get a journal, and a strong cup of coffee.
This “refining fire” is something that so many of us want to skip over in our Christian walk. We want the blessings but we don’t want to go through the hard stuff to get to them. Come on, I know you are thinking it. Hey, I have thought it too, but what God has shown me is what we are going to talk about today.
It says we will be;
1) Pushed to our very limit
2) Road-tested on the inside and out
3) Taken to hell and back
4) Brought to a well-watered place
It’s a funny thing if you think about it. The storms of life are part of the refining fire that God has planned for us. Hold on…did I just say that the stuff that takes us through the refining fire is actually part of the plan that God has for us. Yes I did!
When we are pushed to our very limit do we give up and throw in the towel or do we fight back and hold on longer. When we are road-tested on the inside and out do we curl up in the fetal position and give up or do we get up another time and take another step. When we are going on a journey to hell and back do we stay there and wallow in it or do we stand up and say no more.
I am guessing at this point you are either completely confused or your insides are screaming “Stand up and Fight”. I have to tell you something. I have been through the refining fire and lived to tell you about it. You see, I know what it’s like to be pushed to my limits, to be tested on the inside and out, and taken to hell and back, while holding on to the promise that I would be brought to a well-watered place.
I walked away from a job that had completely taken over my life. I had given just about everything I had, my time, my talents, my money, my family, and then some for this job. I had a decision to make and even though it seems simple enough on this side of the decision, at the time it was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
I walked away from my ministry, my title, my paycheck, my position, my authority, my teams, my security, my insurance, and yes, even most of my friends because I felt the Lord leading my family out. I was hurt and abandoned by people who said that we would do life together forever, by decisions that were made, and after making the decision to leave (even though it was out of obedience to God’s clear direction) began to walk through a very intense season of being in the refining fire.
If you are going through hell…keep going. Winston Churchill
A good friend, Dianne C, mentioned that a refining fire is like a “purpose pit”. You know there is a reason you are in it, but you can’t see clearly as to why because you are stuck in mud and mire of actually being in it. I am in no way telling you that my season in the refining fire was easy, because in all honesty it wasn’t, but what I am telling you is this, that HE has since brought me to a well-watered place; A place to grow, to love, and to rest. I love that! No, really, I do! You see, I had to go through that Refining Fire to come out on this side stronger, clearer, and more confident in who I am in Him.
Do I still struggle with some days, of course, I am, as you know, a woman, and we have lots of emotions (can I hear an Amen to that?). What I will tell you is this, that I am starting to bloom and grow (because I am in a well-watered place now) in ways that can only be because of God. I am not good enough or strong enough on my own, but through Him I can do all things!